The Prisoner Wine

The Prisoner wine

The Prisoner wine is a Napa Valley, California, USA red blend from The Prisoner Wine Company.

The wine was aged in a combination of American oak and French oak barrels, 30% new.

Jen Beloz is the winemaker.

For a white wine from the same company, check out my review of Blindfold White Wine.

Some of the links in this review are affiliate links. That means if you click through and make a purchase, I’ll get a small commission at no additional cost to you. I’m proud to say my reviews are always my honest opinion no matter what.

The Prisoner Wine Review

From the tasting notes:

The Prisoner was inspired by the mixed blacks first made by the Italian immigrants who originally settled in Napa Valley.  The Prisoner is now the most recognized Napa Valley red blend, leading the resurgence of interesting blends…

The notes go on to explain that the blend is a combination of Cabernet Sauvignon, Charbono, Syrah, Petite Syrah and Zinfandel that came from over 80 of California’s premier vineyards.

I tasted the 2015 vintage of The Prisoner wine.  Quite nouveau at the time of tasting!

Sample received for review purposes.


Garnet in color, The Prisoner is quite dark in the glass.  Just a little bit of light shines through.

It’s leggy with both slow and fast falling legs.


Noticeable from a good foot away, I noted aromas of dark chocolate with a side of Fig Newton!

Yes, that Fig Newton.

Up closer to the glass I picked up some cherry and a fair bite of alcohol.

The Prisoner alcohol content 15.2% by volume, per the bottle.  That’s a little up there in terms of alcohol content.


On the palate I got some ripe raspberry and pomegranate at the start, along with other juicy red fruits.

That then gave way to a sweeter vanilla flavor.

Mouthfeel and Tannins

The wine’s mouthfeel was quite silky.

Tannins were masked but noticeable enough behind the upper lip.


The finish was long and lasting, smooth and luscious.

I did note a bit of bitterness that was different than a normal tannin-like bitterness.

While certainly very drinkable, I suspect the wine needs another year to mature in the bottle.

I’m guessing this is due to the Charbono which is known for needing time to mature.

Overall Opinion

Overall, I really enjoyed The Prisoner wine.  It’s a smooth sipper on its own with a lovely aroma and a nice blend of flavors.

Do let it age a while before opening, however.

Suggested Food Pairing

Through some research I discovered that Charbono, AKA Bonarda, is sometimes paired with hickory smoked beef brisket.

While I don’t know the percentage of Charbono in the blend, I think that would go well with this wine and it sounds darn tasty to me!


    1. Hi Caley and thanks for the comment!

      I would drink it now. I tasted the 2015 in the review above in 2016. At that time I felt it needed another year. So, in total, two years of aging.

      Since yours is a 2017 and our comments are being posted in January of 2021, I’d say it’s had enough time to age at this point.

      If you decide to drink it and get a chance, I’d love to hear back how it tasted?


  1. I just had the 2014 The Prisoner… I was wondering how you’d compare the 2015 to either an Apothic red or one of the Cupcake red?

    1. Thanks for commenting!

      With Apothic and Cupcake, you’re getting a darker, perhaps sweeter flavor.

      With Prisoner you’re getting a more refined wine and more classic red wine flavor. You’ll need to decant it, too.

      Prisoner will likely age better. I’d drink Apothic or Cupcake right away.

      There’s also a big difference in price between Prisoner and Apothic / Cupcake.

      Hope that helps… Cheers!

      1. I had the 2014 Prisoner over the weekends… I was really surprised how sweet it is. I think when I drink a $40+ bottle of wine, sweet, is not the first thing that comes to mind. Thanks for your insight.

        1. I hear you… I think what we’re witnessing is the industry’s move to put out more and more red blends with catchy names and sweeter flavors. I started noticing a big uptick with this in 2012.

          It’s what a lot of the market is drinking these days, ergo the big push.

          Some say it’s a way to target Millennials, but of course who’s to say all Millennials like sweet wines.

          1. I recently purchased a bottle of 2015 Prisoner. Should I expect the same amount of sweetness that was mentioned about the 2014 Prisoner?

          2. My review was of the 2015, so not sure how that will compare to the 2014 since I haven’t tried it.

            I suspect the 2015 was less sweet since it didn’t come across overly sweet to me, but again don’t know for sure.

            If you try it I’d be curious to hear your opinion…

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